Dept. of Chemistry

McGill University chemistry professors Karine Auclair and Tomislav Friščić are following a promising lead on using enzymes to recycle polyethylene terephthalate (PET), one of the world’s most widely used plastics.

Published on: 4 Sep 2018

The runaway popularity of personal electronic devices has led to a huge global demand for compact yet powerful rechargeable batteries. Since hitting the market in the 1990s, lithium-ion technology has taken the lead in meeting this need.

But concerns over the relative scarcity of lithium and the toxicity of other common lithium-ion battery ingredients such as cobalt are driving the search for an alternative. Sodium, around 1000 times more abundant than lithium, could be the answer.

Published on: 27 Aug 2018

A fundamental component of protein, nitrogen is the most common pure element on Earth, making up nearly 80 percent of our atmosphere. Yet despite its abundance, atmospheric nitrogen cannot enter the food chain without first being converted into a form that can be used by plants.

Published on: 20 Aug 2018

McGill University chemistry professor Matthew Harrington is aiming to develop a renewable alternative to petrochemical plastics by mimicking the astonishing chemistry of the velvet worm – a creature that has made a name for itself through its projectile slime.

Inhabiting the forest floors of Australia and South America, velvet worms catch their prey by shooting out a jet of liquid that rapidly thickens to a sticky gel before hardening into polymer fibres comparable in stiffness to nylon.

Classified as: food and sustainability
Published on: 13 Aug 2018

The votes are in! Congratulations to the winners and all participants.

The 3 photos that received the highest ratings were:

  • McTavish Street facing toward the mountain, submitted by Deepak Sridhar
  • Redpath building evening, submitted by Steven Vieira
  • McTavish street looking toward downtown, also submitted by Deepak Sridhar

These 7 photos receive honorable mentions:

Classified as: Photo Contest Office 365
Published on: 26 Jun 2018

Cellulose, one of the three major components of plants, is showing great promise as a renewable source for many convenience products. It is made of glucose, a molecule which can be fermented by microorganisms into virtually any desired small molecule of interest. More especially it can be converted to ethanol to make sustainable biofuels.

Classified as: mechanochemistry, press release, enzymes
Published on: 13 Jun 2018

The way individual atoms and molecules move in materials has important consequences on properties such as electrical conductivity, heat capacity and acoustics.  Even in solids, atoms are always moving back and forth about some average position, and this motion occurs through specific wave-like modes called phonons. Phonons form elementary excitations in the material and can therefore carry energy in the form of heat.  As temperature increases, so do the number of phonons and vice-versa.  The group of Dr.

Classified as: press release, Siwick, ultra-fast
Published on: 12 Jun 2018

McGill chemistry professors Hanadi Sleiman and Chao-Jun Li are among the six recipients of this year’s Killam Research Fellowships. The two-year fellowships, awarded to exceptional researchers working on groundbreaking projects of broad significance, are valued at $70,000 a year.
Classified as: Hanadi Sleiman, Chao-Jun Li, Department of Chemistry, Killam fellowships
Published on: 8 May 2018

Do you have great shots of McGill campus-life? We're looking for new photos to feature on the Office 365 portal login page.

The Office 365 portal (
<< shown here, is where thousands of McGill people sign in daily to access email via Outlook on the web, OneDrive file storage, Yammer, Video @ McGill, Microsoft Forms, and other free services for McGill students, faculty and staff. 

Classified as: Photo Contest Office 365
Published on: 1 May 2018

McGill University researchers have discovered the consequence of adding titanium and other stabilizing agents to high performing stainless steel on the material’s localized corrosion mechanism.

In a study published in npj Materials Degradation, the researchers describe a suite of electrochemical techniques used to characterize the material’s corrosion properties both on the macro and micro scale. 

Classified as: Publication, corrosion
Published on: 3 Apr 2018

The first edition of the ChemPhoto: McGill Department of Chemistry Photo Exhibition took place in February and March 2018. The winners were selected by popular vote  (total votes: 266) and are:

  • 1st place: Le Jaune et le Bleu by Chenghao Liu, Ehsan Hamzehpoor
  • 2nd place: Painter Palette by Mahdi Roohnikan
  • 3rd place: Holy smokes Batman, is this Kryptonite!? by Igor Huskić

The award ceremony took place during the bagel hour on March 29th.

Classified as: ChemPhoto
Published on: 31 Mar 2018

Two Kavli Lectures are held at every ACS national meeting as the result of collaboration between ACS and The Kavli Foundation, an internationally recognized philanthropic organization known for its support of basic scientific innovation in astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics.

Classified as: alumni, Awards
Published on: 31 Mar 2018

The Royal Society of Chemistry Twitter Poster Conferences are the biggest chemistry conferences ever organized as they are held entirely over Twitter. Chemists are invited to join this online conference by tweeting they poster, allowing people all over the word to share they research and engage with the scientific research community, without having to travel!

Classified as: Poster prize, twitter conference
Published on: 30 Mar 2018

Researchers at McGill University have invented a new technique for measuring how quickly drugs interact with their molecular targets. The discovery provides scientists with a new way to investigate the effectiveness of drug candidates that might otherwise have been overlooked.

The new method centres on the principle of enzyme inhibition. Countless pharmaceuticals, ranging from antibiotics to chemotherapy drugs, work by blocking the action of enzymes, and the search for new enzyme-inhibiting substances remains a major focus of drug development.

Classified as: enzyme inhibition, Nicolas Moitessier, Anthony Mittermaier, isothermal titration calorimetry, chemistry
Published on: 1 Mar 2018


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